A N A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION - HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PUPILS
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 16-21 of the General Laws entitled "Health and Safety of Pupils" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following sections:
16-21-23. School safety plans - School safety teams and school crisis response teams. -- The school committee of each town, city and regional school department shall adopt a comprehensive school safety plan regarding crisis intervention, emergency response and management. Such plan shall be developed by a school safety team comprised of representatives of the school committee, representatives of student, teacher and parent organizations, school safety personnel, school administration and members of local law enforcement, fire and emergency personnel. Members of the school safety team shall be appointed by the school committee, of the town, city or regional school district.
The school crisis response team shall be comprised of those selected school personnel willing to serve as members of a psychological response team to address the psychological and emotional needs of the school community.
16-21-24. Requirements of school safety plans, school emergency response plans, and school crisis response plans. - - (a) School safety plans, as required by this chapter, shall include and address, but not to be limited to, the following policies and procedures:
(1) Policies and procedures for responding to violence by students, teachers, other school personnel as well as visitors to the school;
(2) Policies and procedures for responding to acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school;
(3) Appropriate prevention and intervention strategies which are based on data to target priority needs and which make use of effective actions based on currently accepted best practice;
(4) Collaborative arrangements with state and local law enforcement officials, designed to ensure that school safety officers and other security personnel are adequately trained, including being trained to de-escalate potentially violent situations, and are effectively and fairly recruited;
(5) Policies and procedures for contacting appropriate law enforcement officials and EMS/Fire, in the event of a violent incident;
(6) Policies and procedures for notification and activation of the school crisis response team;
(7) Policies and procedures for contacting parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to the students of the city, town or region in the event of a violent incident;
(8) Policies and procedures relating to school building security, including where appropriate the use of school safety officers and/or security devices or procedures;
(9) Policies and procedures for the dissemination of informative materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors, including but not limited to, the identification of family, community and environmental factors, to teachers, administrators, school personnel, persons in parental relation to students of the city, town or region students and other persons deemed appropriate to receive such information;
(10) Policies and procedures for annual school safety training and a review of the school crisis response plan for staff and students;
(11) Protocols for responding to bomb threats, hostage-takings, intrusions and kidnappings;
(12) Strategies for improving communication among students and between students and staff and reporting of potentially violent incidents, such as the establishment of youth-run programs, peer mediation, conflict resolution, creating a forum or designating a mentor for students concerned with bullying or violence and establishing anonymous reporting mechanisms for school violence; and
(13) A description of the duties of hall monitors and any other school safety personnel, including the school crisis response team, the training requirements of all personnel acting in a school security capacity.
(b) School safety plans, as required by this chapter, shall further include school emergency response plans specific to each school building contained within each city, town or regional school district. School emergency response plans shall include, and address, but not be limited to, the following elements:
(1) Policies and procedures for the safe evacuation of students, teachers, other school personnel as well as visitors to the school in the event of a serious violent incident or other emergency, which shall include evacuation routes and shelter sites and procedures for addressing medical needs, transportation and emergency notification to persons in parental relation to a student. For purposes of this subdivision, "serious violent incident" means an incident of violent criminal conduct that is, or appears to be, life threatening and warrants the evacuation of students and/or staff;
(2) Designation of an emergency response team comprised of school personnel, local law enforcement officials, and representatives from local regional and/or state emergency response agencies, other appropriate incident response teams including a school crisis response team, and a post-incident response team that includes appropriate school personnel, medical personnel, mental health counselors and others who can assist the school community in coping with the aftermath of a violent incident;
(3) Procedures for assuring that crisis response and law enforcement officials have access to floor plans, blueprints, schematics or other maps of the school interior, school grounds and road maps of the immediate surrounding area;
(4) Establishment of internal and external communication systems in emergencies;
(5) Definition of the chain of command in a manner consistent with the national interagency incident management system/incident command system;
(6) Procedures for review and the conduct of drills and other exercises to test components of the emergency response plan; and
(7) Policies and procedures for securing and restricting access to the crime scene in order to preserve evidence in cases of violent crimes on school property.
16-21-25. Review of school safety plans - Waiver . -- (a) Each city, town or regional department school safety plan and school emergency response plans shall be reviewed on an annual basis by the school committee and updated as appropriate.
(b) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education and school committee shall make each city, town or regional department school safety plan and school emergency response plan available for public comment at least thirty (30) days prior to its adoption. All meetings of school safety teams shall comply with the open meetings law pursuant to chapter 46 of title 42.
(c) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education may grant a waiver of the requirements of sections 23 and 24 of this chapter to any city, town or regional school department for period of up to two (2) years upon a finding by the commissioner that such town, city or regional district had adopted a comprehensive school safety plan or school emergency response plans, which are in substantial compliance with the requirements of sections 16-21-23 and 16-21-24 of this chapter. Provided, however, no waiver, shall extend beyond June 30, 2003.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.